The Advent Youth Retreat held on the 8th – 9th December was a great success. Youths met at the Diocesan Retreat Centre, Lawside Road, Dundee, on the Friday evening and were welcomed by Fr Samuel Alabi MSP and members of the Dunkeld Youth Commission. The evening began with some fun, ice-breaking games to help everyone to get to know each other. Over the course of the retreat, the youths were led in three informative and reflective sessions, focussed on the meaning of Advent, the Mass and Christmas. There was time for group discussion after each session, and this allowed the youths to ask questions and reflect on the topics.
The first of these took place after dinner, looking at the significance of Advent and the Advent wreath. The Friday evening was concluded with Adoration and Rosary, with some free time before bed.
Morning prayer began the Saturday bright and early at 8am, before a hearty breakfast prepared by the Sisters. After breakfast was the second session, which looked at the importance of the Mass and what it means to us. There was time to share what was discussed in small groups, and this was a good time for reflection. There was then a time for games and fellowship, to allow the youths to form bonds of friendship and enjoy each other’s company. The third session took place after lunch, taking another look at the real reasons we celebrate Christmas, and how we can better prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus.
Following this was a short film about the Sacrament of Confession, and then an opportunity for the youths to receive the Sacrament themselves. The retreat finished with a beautiful Mass celebrated by Bishop Robson, to which parents were also invited. Music ministry was provided by the Diocesan Youth Music and Animation Team (DYMAT), who have been rehearsing weekly in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Dundee.
Overall, the retreat was very prayerful, insightful and also fun. It was wonderful to see so many eager youths enjoying the discovery and deepening of their faith. It was also good to see friendships flourish and knowledge received with interest. Everyone was able to take something away with them. But don’t just take it from us – here are a few words from some of the youth who joined us:
“I really enjoyed it! I liked meeting new people, playing games and learning more about what we are actually celebrating at this time. I would really like to go to another one – I think it was really good because there weren’t loads of people so we really got to know one another.” – Alisha McCrosson
“It was fun. I think there should have been an extra day – I really liked the overnight as well. I thought the games were great, the food was tasty, and the talks were very interesting.” – Arianne McCrosson
“I LOVED the games, I LOVED the food and comfy beds and the reflection and the rosary was nice but the only thing I wish was that it lasted longer.” – Finn Soares
Many thanks to everyone who helped out, to the parents who brought their children, and everyone who joined us for this retreat. We look forward to seeing you at the next one, and hope to also see many new faces!